Vertex Prices Stock Offering, $7M for Rapid7, Global Insight and NextPoint Acquired, & More Boston-Area Deals News

9/22/08

Last week saw the announcement of a number of venture financings for New England technology and life sciences firms. I’m guessing a similar number of startups are feeling awfully glad they closed their deals ahead of the week’s stock-market madness.

—The consumer-oriented fund of Highland Capital Partners reportedly led a $6 million Series D financing round for Cambridge, MA-based O Beverages, a maker of nutrient-and flavor-infused waters.

—GateRocket of Bedford, MA, announced it had raised $3 million in a Series A financing round led by New Atlantic Ventures, the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation, and Long River Ventures. GateRocket makes testing, verification, and debugging equipment for specialized microprocessors called field-programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs.

—.406 Ventures of Boston announced it had made an equity investment, the size of which was not disclosed, in Cambridge, MA-based Ambient Devices. The deal marked the first institutional investment in Ambient, which makes wireless displays designed to convey useful information at a glance.

Sirtris reached an agreement with Harvard giving the Cambridge, MA-based firm (which was recently acquired by British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) exclusive access to patents related to SIRT3, an enzyme believed to protect against cellular damage.

—Framingham, MA-based Punchbowl Software, which runs the online party planning service MyPunchbowl, raised $2.1 million from Contour Venture Partners, Intel Capital, and eCoast Angels.

—Software security firm Ounce Labs of Waltham, MA, raised $7.5 million in Series D financing led by Greylock Partners and Commonwealth Capital Ventures.

—Wilmington, MA-based Advanced Electron Beams (AEB) raised $6 million in a “B+” round from GE Energy Financial Services and Agman Partners. AEB makes technology for sterilizing or curing products without the energy costs and chemical waste of other approaches.

—Security software maker Rapid7 of Boston and Los Angeles raised $7 million from Bain Capital Ventures. Rapid7 makes a “unified vulnerability management” application called NeXpose.

—Telecommunications equipment maker NextPoint Networks of Billerica, MA, was acquired by Plano, TX-based GenBand for an undisclosed sum.

—Cambridge, MA-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX) raised $191.3 million in the sale of 7.5 million shares at $25.50 apiece, the company said. Goldman Sachs & Co. is serving as the sole book runner for the offering, and it has an option to buy another 1.1 million shares at the same terms. Vertex said it had $832 million in cash and investments on hand at the end of June, when it last reported quarterly finances.

—Global Insight, the Lexington, MA-based economic forecasting firm, announced it will be acquired by Colorado’s IHS (NYSE: IHS) for an undisclosed sum.

—Massachusetts medical-device startup Soteira, which is developing new treatments for spinal fractures, reportedly closed a $12 million Series B financing round from Delphi Ventures, Federated Kaufman Fund, HLM Venture Partners, Partech International, and Prism VentureWorks.

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